Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Koch Institute at MIT, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center have developed an accurate, scalable approach for monitoring cancer DNA from blood samples.

Reporting in Nature Communications, the team demonstrates that nearly 90 percent of a tumor’s genetic features can be detected in blood samples using whole-exome sequencing, and that the method can be effectively applied in up to 49 percent of patients with advanced cancer — a number likely to increase as sequencing becomes cheaper. This less-invasive tumor sampling, as a window into the cancer’s genome, has a range of potential applications.

Link to full Broad Institute release on study co-authored by MGH investigator Gad Getz.